Is Microblading a Tattoo? Let’s Clear Up the Confusion

Is Microblading a Tattoo? Let’s Clear Up the Confusion
⏱️ 4 min read

Microblading is so popular at the moment everyone’s heard about it at some point. It’s become such a huge trend that it’s available at many salons, and so many people are getting it. If someone’s bomb brows catch your eye, there’s a good chance they’ve had microblading.

But with so much buzz around it, there’s all sorts of misleading information and confusion related to microblading. Primarily, is microblading a tattoo or not?

PMUHub clears up the confusion once and for all.

Is Microblading a Tattoo?

Yes, microblading is a tattoo.

However, it is not exactly the same as a traditional body art tattoo that you probably have in mind. It falls under a subcategory of tattooing, called cosmetic tattoos.

It’s actually a new generation of eyebrow tattoos, much more advanced, and a much better solution. 

What microblading and traditional tattooing have in common is that both ink and pigments are placed in the same layer of the skin – the dermis. And whenever the pigment is placed into the dermis, we are speaking about tattooing.

Although the principle behind cosmetic and traditional tattooing is the same – the skin is opened and color is inserted to achieve the desired effect – there are some key differences.

Is Microblading a Tattoo?Image source: Instagram @phibrows_indy

The Difference Between Microblading and Traditional Tattoos

Since microblading is done on the face, and since its purpose is to recreate the look of wearing makeup rather than to create body art, the tattooing technique had to be adjusted.

The key properties that differentiate microblading from a tattoo are:

1. Method of Application

While body tattooing is done with a tattoo gun or machine, microblading is a manual technique, meaning it’s done with a hand-held blade. The tool used features a very fine blade made up of several needles that’s dragged through the skin to create incisions shaped like brow hairs.

Alternatively, it’s possible to do microblading with a PMU machine that’s still different from the one used for tattooing. This type of cosmetic brow tattoo is called nano brows.

2. The Composition of the Color Injected

Tattooing is done with tattoo ink. Microblading is done with permanent makeup pigments.

Tattoo ink is more concentrated and isn’t affected by the body’s immune system (or it is, but to a very limited extent), the body breaks down PMU pigments and extracts them, although a certain amount of residue always stays in the skin. 

3. Longevity

Traditions tattoos are meant to last a lifetime. Microblading is meant to fade.

The average lifespan of microblading is around 18 months. By that point, the pigments become gradually lighter and lighter until they become invisible. In some cases, microblading doesn’t fade entirely but leaves some visible residue, but unless you touch them up and replenish the pigment, you’ll lose the results.

It’s important to note that the color fades faster due to the area of skin we are tattooing. Facial skin renews at a faster rate due to environmental factors, sweating, abrasion, etc. A traditional tattoo on the face also fades, but slower, because it’s note done with pigments. People who tattoo their faces with tattoo ink have to get them touched up as well.

For more information on the longevity of microblading, read this article.

Then Why Is It Called Permanent Makeup?

Some artists refer to microblading as permanent makeup because it is technically a tattoo, and a certain amount of pigment stays in the skin forever, although you may not see it after a while. 

Others refer to it as semi-permanent, because it tends to fade faster than a traditional tattoo. 

In any case, microblading lasts a lot longer than regular makeup and that is another reason it’s called permanent. 

Cosmetic tattoos are often called permanent makeupImage source: Instagram @mandydormaierbrows

Why Is Microblading Better than Traditional Tattooing for the Brows?

Microblading gives the eyebrows a natural-looking enhancement that a traditional tattoo never could. It fills in the brows with strokes that are indistinguishable from natural hairs, while tattooing could only give the brows the look of a block of color.

But perhaps the biggest advantage of microblading over traditional tattooing of the brows is the fact that it fades. This gives you the option of modifying the look of your brows every couple of years, or letting them go back to their natural state if you decide you don’t want the enhancement anymore.

That’s why microblading should never be done with regular tattoo ink – after all, it goes on your face and there’s no way to hide your brows if you get something that lasts forever and decide you don’t want it anymore after 5 or 10 years.

To Wrap Things Up

The question is microblading a tattoo is kind of complex.

Microblading technically is a type of tattoo, but the cosmetic kind. It’s not permanent, and it fades after a certain time. It’s often referred to as a brow tattoo because colors are injected into the skin of the brows, but there are many things that differentiate it from traditional tattooing done for the purpose of body art.

So don’t worry – if you decide to get microblading, you won’t be stuck with it forever.

For more information on the difference between microblading and traditional tattooing done on the brows, check out this article.

Cover image source: Pexels



Exclusive insights into the PMU industry right in your inbox.

FREE newsletter. 100% good stuff.